"Greek shipping asks for nothing more or nothing less than to remain productively linked with the homeland and undeterred to its difficult daily effort around the world," Theodoros Veniamis, president of the Greek Shipowners' Union, told an annual regular general assembly of the union.

Veniamis said the current economic environment was transitional, stressing that 2010 was a year that did not allow complacency or any spectacular business initiatives because of a shrinking production and reduced sea transport, by 350 million tons.

He added there were some signs of economic recovery, combined with strong growth in China, India and SE Asia in general.

It is within this extremely fluid and volatile environment that Greek shipping managed to maintain its strength, to continue its fleet renewal and boost the national registry, he noted.

He underlined that Greek shipping will always expect a reconstruction of the historic Merchant Marine ministry which will include management of the port police, while he also referred to problems facing the shipping industry such as attracting young people to the sea profession and upgrading nautical training.

Veniamis said a meeting between the Union and Prime Minister George Papandreou was held in a positive climate and stressed that government pledges to create a maritime centre, upgrading the port of Piraeus and maritime training were confirming the shipping industry's expectations of securing state support in its work.